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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obligitory Casey Anthony post.

As a person who reads the news and occasionally blogs about it, I suppose I must put in my two pennies worth on the subject of the Casey Anthony fiasco. Fiasco really is an understatement. I think train wreck may be a better way of describing it. It was a disaster from the beginning.

One may ask, why I think it was a disaster from day one. My answer is really simple, the media sensationalized the living hell out of it. Imagine if this case unfolded and the mother wasn't involved beyond misreporting a missing child. There wouldn't be half as many people screaming for blood as there are today. Let's take this little thought experiment a bit farther. Let's imagine if the person involved was an acquaintance of the family. The number of people screaming for that person's blood would drop off exponentially.

In my opinion, the first thing that judge should have done was bar the media from the courtroom. I think it should be a standard practice in any and all high profile cases. This should be as routine as sequestering jurors. Did the district attorney botch their case? Probably. Is Casey Anthony guilty? I don't know.

There's a chance that she is guilty as hell. That doesn't matter in the eyes of the law, however, because a jury of her peers found her innocent. Yes, a terrible thing happened to a little girl. The injustice of it smarts because we can't pin the crime on any one person's head and exact some form of vengeance, because let's face it that's what people are looking for with the death penalty.

That doesn't mean that we automatically criminalize parents who don't know immediately if their child's missing. Older children are harder to keep track of then younger children because they're much more independent. Guess what, that means that little Suzie may be spending the night at her friend's place and if she and her friend get lost while they're out doing stuff, Suzie's parents aren't going to know until at least 24 hours later.

I'm not a big fan of that sensationalist rag the Huffington Post. At times, however, they have good articles. This article does a better job then I can illustrating why we shouldn't jump to knee jerk conclusions and start changing/writing laws in the heat of populist passion. Cases like that of Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson are rare. Writing laws that affect everyone because of things that happen in these outlier cases is bad policy.

The Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero said it best:

The more laws, the less justice.

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